La Salette Revisited: Satan’s Head and Mary’s Heel
Written by Father Vincent Miceli (RIP)
Scripture relates about Satan the following: “Now the serpent (Satan) was the most cunning of all the animals that the Lord had made…But the Serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she gave some to her husband…Then the eyes of both were opened and they realized they were naked.”
We have here the Head of Satan, with its fangs of hatred of God and man, stripping Adam and Eve and the whole human race of the wedding garment of Sanctifying Grace and leaving us all in the nakedness of sin, in the death of the soul, in the nothingness of damnation as enemies of God.
The Lord God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?” The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, and so I ate and gave some to my husband who also ate of the fruit.” Then the Lord God said to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; he will strike at your head while you strike at his heel” We have here God’s prediction of the eventual defeat of Satan as signified in the contrast between head and heel. Because Mary and her Son Jesus “the Son of God appeared that he might destroy the works of the devil” as St. John the Evangelist tells us in his first letter. This message of God is the first promise of the Redeemer and the Mother of the Redeemer for the salvation of fallen mankind. The woman’s offspring, the woman’s Heel, the hammer of the Father of Lies and of physical and spiritual death, is first of all Jesus Christ who, with His Mother, has overcome the world of death, darkness, the nakedness of sin and the nothingness of damnation.
Mary’s Role in the History of Salvation.
Though silent and hidden through most of her life on earth, Mary, the Mother of God and of the Church, has during the last evolving history of the Church, and notably in our times of crisis and turmoil, made many public visits to our earth and spoken out eloquently so as to convert and save mankind from the wrath of a much-offended God. It is clear then that as the last days of the history of salvation approach, Mary is exercising quite frequently the role of the ancient Hebrew prophets; Mary comes among Christians today warning them and indeed the whole world, of the terrible catastrophes advancing upon us all, unless we return to love and fidelity to Her Son.
Perhaps the history of Guadalupe demonstrates most graphically the war between Satan’s Head and Mary’s Heel. Since 1660 twenty popes have issued decrees honoring the divine image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1754 upon viewing a copy of that beautiful miraculous image, Pope Benedict XIV was deeply moved and exclaimed: “Non fecit taliter omni nationi.” God and Mary have not performed such a marvelous miracle for any other nation.
When the Blessed Virgin appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531, a handful of Spanish Franciscan missionaries had been laboring with great zeal, but little success, for six years, trying to convert the Aztec Indians. The missionaries were greatly disheartened, though they worked faithfully. For they were attempting what was certainly impossible to men – the rescue of the Mexican nation from two thousand years of servitude to Satan.
The Aztecs worshipped Satan as their Serpent-God in whose honor they sacrificed twenty thousand human persons yearly and feasted on their flesh. The darkness and cruelty of this demonic domination seemed unconquerable. It is recorded that at the inauguration of the reign of Ahuizotl, the most warlike of the Aztec leaders, 80,000 prisoners were sacrificed to the Serpent-God, their hearts placed before the sun, their limbs served at ritual banquets and their mutilated bodies thrown to wild beasts. Moreover, these Indians fought the Spaniards fiercely to preserve their idolatrous religion, a religion of the Serpent-God that was rampant in all Latin American lands.
But within 7 years of the apparition of the Virgin on the rocky hill of Tepeyac, the precious image of the Virgin stamped out, abolished, eradicated the religion of the stone Serpent and converted 8 million Indians to the Catholic Faith. Mary had predicted this crushing of Satan’s head in her visits to Juan Diego upon whose mantle she had stamped her beautiful, overwhelmingly tender image. The divine image was the heavenly instrument that obliterated the demonic gods of the Aztecs and their rituals of human sacrifices. Even those modern agents of Satan and his kingdom, the Masonic and Communist rulers of Mexico, have failed to diminish or extinguish this faith.
At the turn of this century these champions of atheism strove by every possible means to destroy the Mexican Christian religion and civilization. They isolated the youth from the Church in an attempt to educate them as militant atheists; they exiled bishops and priests, hunting them down like animals; they shot and killed men in an inhuman fashion; they vexed, persecuted, dragged off to mock trials whoever courageously witnessed to the faith.
But the Virgin, Conqueror of the Stone Serpent-God, kept drawing millions of Indians to her shrine where her love as their Mother consoled, strengthened, protected and sanctified them. In the present times, the same Virgin crushes the head of the Serpent-God. She is doing just such a marvelous feat for millions of souls who seek her aid at Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, Rue du Bac, in Poland, Yugoslavia, Rome, Sicily, indeed in the whole world. The Virgin continues to urge all to pray and do penance as they cooperate with her and her Divine Son to destroy the kingdom of darkness and death. And she continues to pour forth a flood of miracles, curing thousands of petitioners of ills of both body and soul.
The Battle between Satan and the Virgin at La Salette
Perhaps Mary’s conquest of Satan can be better understood if we study the fierce battle between her and the forces of evil at La Salette. What are the facts? On September 19, 1846, Mary appeared to two little children, Maxim Girard, age 11, and Melanie Calvat-Mathieu, age 15, who were taking care of their parents’ cattle on the mountain of La Salette. “Now, my children, you will reveal to all the people my message.” This message is still little known today. Why? Because hardly any message from heaven has received the furious opposition that this one has. And this opposition flies in the teeth of the favorable approval of this message by such Popes as Pius IX, St. Pius X and Leo XIII.
“Alas,” writes Melanie to her spiritual Father, L”Abbe Combe, in 1903, “the bishops who take this message as addressed to themselves, have become the enemies of this merciful message. They are acting like the High Priests who condemned Our Divine Saviour to death.” Yet Pius IX ordered the Bishop of Grenoble to construct a beautiful church on the spot of the apparitions; Leo XIII crowned a statue of the Virgin and gave the Sanctuary the title of Basilica.
Still the bishops and many clerics furiously opposed the apparitions and treated the children unjustly, even cruelly. They refused absolution to people who frequented the shrine; they poured calumnies on Maxim and Melanie whom they called crazy or unbalanced. Their cry was: “La Salette. Yes; Melanie and her secret, No!”
Maxim too, was given a secret, but his went to the grave with him. Melanie’s secret was to be revealed at the proper time. And when it was, all the powers of hell erupted against it. Its condensed contents will explain why.
Priests and ministers of Christ had become corrupt; they were leading evil lives, full of irreverence, impiety in celebrating Holy Mass; they were in love with money, honors, and pleasures, were sources of impurity. God’s wrath was about to descend upon them if they do not repent. They have forgotten prayer, penance; they have become falling stars, the devil possessing their minds and souls. God will abandon the society, if they do not bring back His people to a good virtuous life. Pius IX, God’s holy and good servant, must not flee Rome again, but must fight evil generously and courageously. Look at Napoleon, his heart and mind are puffed up with pride; he wants to be both a Pope and the Emperor, God will abandon and punish him. Italy will be scourged with wars and much bloodshed for trying to throw off the yoke of Christ. Many are leaving the faith, the number of religious and priests abandoning their vocations is vast. In 1864 Lucifer and hordes of his demons will be let loose from hell to capture priests and religious in infidelity. Evil, wicked books are escalating everywhere; people will be displaced from place to place; extraordinary prodigies will take place in nature; heresies will arise everywhere. Woe to the princes of the Church who are interested only in accumulating riches upon riches. France, Italy, Spain, England will be engulfed in war, in floods of human blood running in the streets; these wars will be both civil wars and foreign wars. But the persecutors of the Church and her enemies will be destroyed. There will come a time of peace, but only after Paris is set to the torch and Marseilles overrun. God will visit mankind with chastisements for over 35 years. Then, after a period of peace for 25 years, men will again be corrupted by the good life; a prophet precursor of the Antichrist will come on the scene, will conquer many nations by military force, pose as the savior of the world; pests, famines, wars will again chastise the whole world. Finally the Antichrist will be born of a Jewish nun, a false virgin who will be in constant communication with Satan; his father will be a bishop, the Antichrist will pour out blasphemies, terrifying howls; he will perform prodigies, will live a life of extreme wickedness. Rome will lose the faith, will become the Seat of the Antichrist, the Gospel will be preached everywhere in the world.
I send forth an urgent appeal to the true disciples of God who live and reign in His kingdom, I appeal to the followers and imitators of my divine Son, to my devoted friends, to ask them to live in the world with a contempt of the spirit of the world, with a spirit of poverty, of humility, of penance and a love for constant prayer. I ask them to offer their sufferings in union with those of my Son for the conversion of sinners. They are to remain the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Show yourselves to be my dear children and may your faith illuminate the whole world in these evil times. May your zeal render you possessed for the accomplishment of the honor and glory of Jesus Christ. For the end of times is approaching, the end of time is near. The Church will be eclipsed; the world will be left in consternation. But both Henoch and Elias, my prophets, full of the spirit of God, will pray for the Church with the power of God and men of good will will follow them strengthened in spirit and by the power of the Holy Ghost. Yet Woe to the men of the world who will not follow them! For they will suffer in bloody wars, in famines, in floods, in earthquakes, in sacked cities, so much so that they will bang their heads against walls in desperation. They will pray to die, but even death will constitute their torment. Then Henoch and Elias will be put to death; pagan Rome will disappear; at the prayers and tears of the just, God will lessen His wrath and become more compassionate and merciful. Fire from heaven will descend and consume cities; the whole universe will be seduced for it adores not the living Christ but Satan. The Beast with his evil followers having gotten the rule of the world, will arise in an attempt to conquer heaven, but he will be defeated by St. Michael, struck down and then hurled into Hell with the Antichrist. In the end God will be served and glorified.
Mary tells her followers to meditate often on this message with seriousness. For the message is most relevant to what is happening in our times. It should encourage us to know that many great Saints, contemporary apostles of the time when Our Lady appeared at La Salette, constantly reflected on this secret. They had the intuition of Saints in understanding the things of God, of Jesus and Mary. To mention but a few of the saints who accepted the message of La Salette with love, humility and gratitude there are: St. Pius X, Pope Pius IX, St. John Bosco, S.G. Murialdo, Cure of Ars, St Madeleine Sofia Barat, Paolina M. Jaricot, Hannbale of France, Mons. Daniel Comboni, St. Louis de Montfort.
As Mary revealed the message to the children tears flowed down her face and she held her head in her hands in great sorrow from time to time. She was begging the help of her children by their prayers, penances, good works and love to bring about that Passage of God over the whole universe and all mankind as a passage not of Justice but of Mercy.
Four French bishops tried to silence the message of the Virgin at La Salette and to prevent the faithful from hearing it. They all died tragic deaths for their efforts. 1) Bishop Ginovilhac of Grenoble, forced Melanie into an English Convent so as to impose silence on her, he died soon after in a madhouse. 2) His successor Bishop Fava did his best to hide the fact of Mary’s apparitions to the children. He was found dead, stretched out on the street, naked, eyes glaring into empty space with clenched fists. 3) Bishop Gilbert of Amiens and then of Bordeaux said: “The secret of La Salette is mere irreligiosity, all lies and exaggerations.” Soon after, he was found dead in his room. At his funeral the coffin fell from the catafalque and rolled into the street. 4) Archbishop Darboy of Paris personally interviewed Maxim about the secret given by Mary. He berated the boy with violent ideologies so that the child was frightened into silence. Finally being thoroughly irritated and exasperated at not having obtained the message from the boy, he said: “The words of your Lady are full of foolishness; they are as stupid as your claim to have a secret.” The boy responded “I am as certain that I have seen the Beautiful Lady as I am certain that before three years have passed you will be shot to death.” The French uprisings of the Commune were still in the distant future; a calm France could not even imagine nor predict them. Nevertheless, on May 24, 1871, the Archbishop was shot to death in Paris by the rebels of the Commune just as Maxim predicted.
Now according to St. Thomas, “apparitions do not bring us new doctrines, but new graces.” They relate new ways in which Mary crushes the Serpent’s head. Hence Mary’s apparitions, though part of private revelation, not of public revelation, nevertheless, are publicized in order to bring perverse generations back to God and holiness. Though not part of the deposit of revelation, they are meant to increase the number of the saints, in the community of Saints known as the Mystical Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God. And once the Teaching Church, especially the Holy Pontiffs, have declared these revelations “worthy of credence”, and foster religious devotions to be practiced under their inspirations, reputable authorities in the church declare that it would be rash and temerious to contest openly what the Magisterium has approved, particularly if these revelations are supported by authenticated miracles.
In conclusion, let us realize a deep truth from the role of Mary in God’s plan of salvation. It is this: Not only is Mary’s Heel—not only is Mary’s Offspring…Jesus Christ—the instrument of God in destroying Satan’s kingdom of sin, darkness and death and restoring God’s kingdom of light, life and holiness, but we, the children of Mary, the followers of her Son Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters, are also participants of that Holy Heel which crushes the Prideful Head of Satan. By our prayers and penances, our acts of humility, hope, love, by our devotion to the Holy Rosary, our reverent attendance at frequent Holy Mass and Holy Communion, by, in a word, our practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, we become with Mary and Jesus, apostles of truth, life and holiness, builders of the Kingdom of heaven and at the same time demolishers of the throne of Satan and of his kingdom of darkness and death on earth.